Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer says he is struggling to decide when to retire and is weighing a number of factors, according to an interview published Friday by The New York Times.
At 83, Breyer is the oldest member of the court and is considered the leader of court’s three-member liberal wing. The others are Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. He has been the subject of a campaign by liberals who want him to retire to ensure that President Joe Biden can name his successor.
In considering his decision, Breyer told the NYTimes about a conversation he had with late Justice Antonin Scalia. “He said, ‘I don’t want somebody appointed who will just reverse everything I’ve done for the last 25 years.’ That will inevitably be in the psychology” of his decision, he said.
“I don’t think I’m going to stay there till I die — hope not,” he said. “There are a lot of blurred things there, and there are many considerations,” he said. “They form a whole. I’ll make a decision.”
Breyer also offered his thoughts on the issue of term limits, saying they could be a silver lining for justices deciding when to retire. “It would make my life easier,” adding, “It would have to be a long term, because you don’t want the person there thinking of his next job,” he said.
He said he’s aware of the public interest in his retirement timeline. “I’ve said that there are a lot of considerations. I don’t think any member of the court is living in Pluto or something.”